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Battle Bunny

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  2,674 Ratings  ·  535 Reviews
Encourage creativity with this wildly entertaining picture book mash-up from the minds of Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett.

Alex has been given a saccharine, sappy, silly-sweet picture book about Birthday Bunny that his grandma found at a garage sale. Alex isn't interested - until he decides to make the book something he'd actually like to read. So he takes out his pencil, shar
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 22nd 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published September 1st 2013)
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Journey by Aaron BeckerThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew DaywaltThe Dark by Lemony SnicketFlora and the Flamingo by Molly IdleMr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter  Brown
2014 Mock Caldecott
18th out of 79 books — 225 voters
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10th out of 99 books — 112 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 10, 2014 karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-laughter
this is a wonderful idea: take a sappy book with a trite story and a heartwarming message and MAKE IT SO MUCH BETTER BY ADDING WEAPONS AND ESSPLOSIONS!!

this is was a story about a little bunny on his birthday. he woke up soooo excited that he was going to see all his friends and they would throw him a party and he would get presents and everyone would shower him with attention and cake. but oh no! looks like everyone forgot it was his birthday because they have other things going on in their liv
Brilliant. I can imagine bringing in Little Golden Books and inviting my students to revise the book into original stories.

After reading Jon Scieszka’s famous children’s books “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” and “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” I was really excited to check out some of Jon Scieszka’s latest works! Lo and behold, I happened to stumble upon one of Jon Scieszka’s most recent children’s book “Battle Bunny (or Birthday Bunny),” co-written by Mac Barnett along with illustrations by Matthew Myers (along with some help from Alex) and this was a pretty interesting read!

Oct 31, 2015 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Remember Duck Amuck? I am referring of course to that old Looney Tunes short where Daffy Duck came to the realization that his fourth wall is a bit . . . faulty. Watching that short, as Daffy is being rubbed out of existence by an eraser I like to think about those kids seeing the short for the first time. Maybe amongst them there are some kids who feel this is a keen bit of transgression. Maybe some are shocked by the fact that unspoken rules are being broken left and right. Or (more likely) ma ...more
Dec 19, 2013 John rated it it was amazing
Brilliant "altered" book that turns a sugary sweet birthday book into a violent quest for absolute power. Fun for all ages.
Carrie Gelson
This title gets full points for its highly appealing "revision" to make a book absolutely kid appreciated. Mind you, not just kid, as my husband read it and instantly wanted to buy a copy for his father for Christmas! It is the creative license that this book celebrates - the humour, the scribbles, the reinventing of a character . . . that I love. Also worth noting - I showed the book trailer to my class and they ask me about 15 times a day if I have bought the book yet! (Can't wait to book talk ...more
Full review at:

This picture book would be so much fun as a read aloud (original story than the modified one). Also, I can also picture bringing in picture books (maybe older ones or bought at a used book store) and letting the students modify their own! How much fun!

This book made me laugh out loud! What a perfect insight into the mind of a young boy (reminds me of so many doodles I’ve seen on papers over the year!). Also, I was blown away by the creativi
Dec 18, 2013 Kathrina rated it it was amazing
Both a fun story that most young children will enjoy for its irreverence, and also a sly critique on contemporary literacy. Like a picture book version of JJ Abrams's S. Dual narrative, each informing the other, creating a third story-space that belongs to the reader. So much food-for-thought here...
Recommended by someone on Twitter and having already found myself a huge Scieszka fan after The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, I loved this book from the very first page onwards (or even the front cover) for the very clever play it does with form and style.
Originally a book meant for a young boy as a birthday present, it finds its schmaltzy, sickening narrative completely defaced by the owner in which Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny and undergoes a series of deadly escapad
Sep 06, 2016 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We love reading books by Jon Scieszka and so I was excited to see this new picture book.

The concept is novel and yet I wonder why anyone hasn't thought of this before. The book has a well-worn look to it, with roughed up corners (or at least simulated pictures of roughed up corners). And the book is defaced throughout by a clever little boy named Alex.

The way that Alex inserts himself into the modified story reminds me of the Chester books by Mélanie Watt. And the humor is similar, too, but qu
Lisa W.
Dec 22, 2013 Lisa W. rated it really liked it
Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* This deliciously subversive piece of metafiction skewers—with a sharp wit and a sharper pencil—the earnest, purposeful literature so popular in the middle of the last century. The fun begins with a facsimile of something akin to an antique Little Golden Book, Birthday Bunny, complete with worn cover, yellowed pages, and wholesome message. But the book has been "improved" in story and pictures by a child named Alex wielding his trusty no. 2. The cover, retitled B
Mar 27, 2014 Kristina rated it it was amazing
Again, another children's book beats almost all the other fiction books I've read this year. Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett and illustrated by Matthew Myers is great. Jon Scieszka writes kids' books that are creative, inventive, and funny. He takes traditional tales and subverts them to be smart and appealing to both children and the adults who have to read them to children. Battle Bunny is the story of a Bunny who is sad because his forest friends haven't recognized that today is ...more
Monica Edinger
Jul 10, 2013 Monica Edinger rated it it was amazing
Also at educating alice. (Written back in May, but forgot to post it here until now when I saw Betsy's review.)

I am a big fan of subversive books, say the"recommended inappropriate books for kids" featured inLane Smith'sCurious Pages.That said, I also have observed that kids respond better to some of these more than others, an issue I explored years ago ina Horn Book article "Pets and Other Fishy Books." So when I ran into Jon Scieszka a few months ago and he excitedly told me about the forthcom
Jan 04, 2014 Rosemary rated it really liked it
Admittedly, I'm a Jon Scieszka fangirl (I'll even admit to clandestinely taking a stalker-esque photo of him when I saw him in the book room at the NCTE a couple years ago), so I was pretty much determined to love this book no matter what.

The premise is in Scieszka's typically subversive vein: here, a kid named Alex has overwritten a sappy picture book, "Birthday Bunny," given to him by his grandma…or "Gran Gran," as she inscribes the title page. Alex has not only retitled the book "Battle Bunn
Reminiscent of a Little Golden Book, Birthday Bunny is the predictable story of a bunny who wakes up on his birthday and none of his friends remember it's his special day. But then of course, in the end, his friends really remembered it was his birthday and throw him a surprise party. Well Alex thinks Birthday Bunny is lame so he decides to make up his own story, crossing out and erasing words, adding new words and pictures to create Battle Bunny. What begins as a demure, submissive little ...more
Carol Royce Owen
Nov 10, 2013 Carol Royce Owen rated it it was amazing
Be prepared to be amused, and don't blink, or you'll miss some of the fun. For example, don't miss the title page where you read the sweet sentiment from Alex's grandmother, obviously a grandmother out of touch with her grandson's preferences, or the first page of the story, seemingly unedited, until you look at the illustration and you notice the picture on the wall of a mother bunny leaning over the bed of two rabbits with the words "Drink your poison" written above.. Yes, what was a seemingly ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Battle Bunny by John Scieszka
Primary Picture Book (Shared Read Aloud)
Jack’s interests run pretty wide. This fractured tale imaginatively covers animals, electronics, and the president (all listed on Jack’s survey). The book also acts as an inspirational example of creative writing and art, which are listed as things Jack wants to know more about. While at first glance this book may seem like a good pick for independent readers, even proficient/advanced primary students may get stuck within the h
Michele Knott
When you put two comical authors together like Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, you know you're going to be laughing out loud!
Battle Bunny is the story of "Birthday Bunny" with some "changes" made to it by the "author", Alex. Apparently the story of "Birthday Bunny" was not dangerous enough for Alex so he made some alterations. "Birthday Bunny" becomes "Battle Bunny" and instead of "hopping" through the forest he is "chopping" through the woods. Not only does Alex change the words of the story, he
Pam ☼Because Someone Must Be a Thorn☼ Tee
Adorable book.

I read Battle Bunny myself and then handed it off to my tween boy. His reaction was to read it and then re-read it right away. We then sat down together to look at the art and see if we had missed any of the jokes. (And they're there, hiding in various places.)

But let me back up. The idea behind the book is that a boy receives a book from his Gran-Gran on his birthday. She saw it at a garage sale and thought of him. And the only problem is that The Birthday Bunny book is really for
Daniel Thornton
Aug 22, 2014 Daniel Thornton rated it it was amazing
When I saw this book on the shelf at the library, I couldn't resist picking it up. And when I saw it was by Jon Scieszka, I knew I'd have to bring it home with me. I'm sure many others from my generation will, like me, be immediately reminded of Strong Bad's "Everyone is Different." As funny as that particular sbemail was, this is much more suitable as an actual children's book.
I first read this to my 4-year-old daughter as "Birthday Bunny" at her request. This is still the version she prefers.
Sep 03, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing
This insane parody is a laugh a minute. Aren't there some stories you just wish you could rewrite? Kudos to the authors who not only created the jokes, but created a "sweet and syrupy" book first that they then crossed out and vandalized with child-like scrawls, lettering, and pictures throughout. Young children might laugh at the story, but children will have to be at reading level to get the whole picture here, because it is pretty ingenious, and plays on the sentence structures a lot.

Dec 16, 2015 Kate rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite kids books ever and makes me want to do a book hacking program with some kids. I don't even know how I'd read this out loud but I want everyone to read it. Recommended to everyone who thinks that BUNNY BIRTHDAYS ARE BORING and could do with some DESTRUCTION

Also I love that on every page all the trees have their tops chopped off with a hand saw.

Sep 11, 2016 Jesse rated it it was amazing
This book is so funny! I love everything about it; it's going to be super popular with kids. The "original" story of Birthday Bunny is cute, but nothing to write home about. But Battle Bunny is so very inventive! Even though I usually abhor writing in books, this one does it so well that I must applaud Matthew Myers. This one is awesome. :)
This book gets 5 stars for just being genius. Not only is the story hilarious, it's a very clever idea! And this book could inspire many kids to scribble in their old picture books, which both horrifies me (the librarian side) and intrigues me (the art side).

Before you give this book to your kid, hit up the flea market or used book sale at the library and buy a bunch of old picture books that have no sentimental value for you and include them in the present.
May 01, 2015 Tena rated it really liked it
Hilarious. Creative. It makes me want to take all the pointless baby books I was forced to read in lower elementary and rewrite them for my own interests. I think so many great writing activities could develop from this book. It takes a few of times to really read this book... I read the original story, I read the modified story, and then I had to look again to find all the funny little details on every page. I could probably read it 10 times and still find something new!
Oct 17, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing
THIS IS HILARIOUS!! It is modeled after some sappy picture book about a bunny having a birthday but it has been scribbled all over to change the story to a Battle Bunny trying to take over the world. I was laughing so hard my co-workers thought I was crying. A kid w/ a strong sense of humor and flavor for hijinks! So so funny!!
Mar 12, 2014 Darcy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-s-stuff
This was a joy to read! I can see kids go for the irreverence of it. Changing the whole meaning by crossing out words and adding doodles to make a somewhat dull, cutesy story into an adventure of potential conflict; so fun!
Hopefully it won't give those kidlets the wrong idea with their library books...
Mar 22, 2015 Dawn rated it it was ok
Shelves: easy-juvenile, 2015
Love the idea of remaking a book, but I was seriously underwhelmed by the execution. It's like mixing a little golden book and axe cop, and it could have been so much more. Instead of taking something hokey and making it violent, I sort of wish that it had just taken something basic and made it more complex, if that makes sense.
Jan 15, 2014 Wendy rated it really liked it
So, so funny and clever. Laurie, I was thinking of giving this to Iris for her birthday but since I decided on something else in the end, now you guys should get it from the library if you haven't already. You will all love it.

I think format stuff will probably keep this off both Newbery and Caldecott lists, and probably Geisel too, but it deserves a wide readership.
Hilarious. I could see my students loving this concept!

Edit: Looks like they have a clean pdf of the story where students can create their own versions:
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The new mash-up? 1 11 Oct 26, 2013 11:25PM  
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Jon Scieszka is a writer and teacher. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and two children. Occasionally he has been known to howl at the full moon. --from the dust jacket of "The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs"

Jon Scieszka is also the author of the best-selling ALA Notable Book, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, as well as Knights of the Kitchen Table, and The Not-So-Jolly Roger
More about Jon Scieszka...

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